Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Tube of joy

The right place, the right time, is where we want to be! Today my friend and I sat having a coffee in Grimsby Minster (! Please don't forget St. James), when a pleasant clergyman came up and told us - warned us, we felt - that there would be a short service. (Religion can be scary to some nowadays, so we understood his tone.) So we hung on in there for the arrival of the Olympic prayer-baton, and even got to read out some of the hand-written messages that arrived in a transparent tube from the good people of Sheffield whence it had come; were they prayers, or hopes, or predictions? They were expressed in the form of assurances that Grimsby-Cleethorpes would become a place where God would move mightily. They correctly understood how places like this - like many others - are suffering in the current climate, and need to hang on to the idea that if we feel forgotten by the earthly powers-that-be, then God had not forgotten us, and would make of us a great nation. No, I exaggerate a little. But they wanted to encourage and support in these difficult days, which has to be good. Psalm 29 seemed to appeal to the encouragers: 'The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over mighty waters.'

And then we were asked if we'd like to add anything to the messages that would be sent on to Lincoln to be prayed over, so the verse in Psalm 85 came to our minds that we had been discussing since last Sunday when we had sung it, 'Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.'

This little gathering made a big impression on our day; ancient words, shaky handwriting, big hopes. Psalmic messages in a bottle. This is what the psalms are really for.

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